The best players in the Northern Hemisphere stepped up once again this weekend with some memorable performances in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.
Ireland sealed a NatWest 6 Nations triumph with a 28-8 success over Scotland while France downed England in Paris 22-16.
And on Sunday, Wales flexed their muscles once more with a 38-14 win over Conor O’Shea’s Italy to make it four teams with identical win/loss records heading into Super Saturday.
We’ve been through the stats for round four to uncover a bit more about how the trio games unfolded during the weekend. Grosso on form
Difficult conditions in Paris were not ideal for running rugby which makes Remy Grosso’s seven defenders beaten stat even more impressive.
The French winger beat more defenders than any other player in the NatWest 6 Nations in round four and two more than Ireland’s Garry Ringrose and Keith Earls.
Blair Kinghorn marked his NatWest 6 Nations debut with four defenders beaten, the same number as Steff Evans on the Wales wing against Italy on Sunday.
George North, who scored two tries at the Principality Stadium, got past three men as did Ireland full-back Rob Kearney and both also featured highly on the metres made tally.
The lack of England players amongst the top performers in this category underlines the difficulties they faced in attack against a solid French defence. Defenders Beaten Remy Grosso, France – 7 Garry Ringrose, Ireland – 5 Keith Earls, Ireland – 5 Blair Kinghorn, Scotland – 4 Steff Evans, Wales – 4 Rob Kearney, Ireland – 3 George North, Wales – 3 Kearney’s attacking threat
Kearney (138) led the way for metres made in the Championship in round four with a fine attacking display from full back against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
His opposite number, Stuart Hogg, wasn’t far behind though (116m) with wingers Grosso (106) and North (105) also getting over a century of gained metres.
Ringrose marked his return to the Ireland midfield with 92 metres in Dublin an impact that won’t have gone unnoticed by England ahead of the coming weekend.
Kinghorn backed up his debut try by making 71 metres with ball in hand as the Scots battled valiantly against the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations champions. Metres made Rob Kearney, Ireland – 138m Stuart Hogg, Scotland – 116m Remy Grosso, France – 106m George North, Wales – 105m Garry Ringrose, Ireland – 92m Blair Kinghorn, Scotland – 71m Ireland test Scots’ defence
Ireland simply refused to give up the ball in Dublin as they secured 62 per cent possession against Scotland and 63 per cent of territory during the 80 minutes.
It is no surprise then to see three Scottish defenders at the top of the tackle charts with John Barclay, Jonny Gray and Hamish Wilson all making over 20 tackles.
Hooker Stuart McInally and Peter Horne also made 19 tackles each as Scotland completed 204 of 230 attempted tackles. France made the second most of a team in round four with 168/176.
England meanwhile made 150 of 167 tackles in Paris with hooker Jamie George, starting for the injury Dylan Hartley, making 18 hits and Courtney Lawes backing him up with 17. Top 5 tacklers John Barclay, Scotland – 28 Jonny Gray, Scotland – 27 Hamish Wilson, Scotland – 25 Stuart McInally, Scotland – 19 Peter Horne, Scotland – 19 Jamie George, England – 18 Courtney Lawes, England – 17